Tom Wolfe, the famous American author and journalist, died yesterday, aged 88. He wrote the countercultural classic, ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’, published in 1968, which documented the exploits of Ken Kesey’s Californian LSD evangelists, The Merry Pranksters, who played a leading role in the emergence of the psychedelic era during the 1960s – their ‘Acid Test’ gatherings, originally at Kesey’s La Honda farm, unleashing psychedelic light shows, whilst providing the launchpad for the band The Grateful Dead.
50 years ago today an album was released that took pop music, something previously regarded as disposable, into the realm of art, whilst helping enable a vital generation of young people to throw off the shackles and express themselves in ever-ambitious ways – ‘Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ soundtracked the fabled ‘summer of love’, which had spilled out into an unsuspecting world via the US West Coast, its psychedelic epicentre being San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood, where the original hippies had gathered and pondered the meaning of it all, adopting a lateral LSD-laced stance on life that would be a defining feature of the decade.
On April Fools’ Day our record label, Super Weird Substance, is hosting its most ambitious event to date – a 14 hour long Happening that takes over The Florrie, a stunning Grade II Victorian community heritage venue in Liverpool.
The last month or so has passed quickly – apart from my DJ commitments, pretty much every waking hour has revolved around preparation for the first Super Weird, Substance album release, which compiles the label’s singles so far and is issued on on 2xCD (including mix I’ve put together) on November 13th. Just about on top of everything now, until the next avalanche of things to do, I’d forgotten how time-consuming the day-to-day variables of running a record label can be. Great fun though, nothing like a bit of thinking on your feet. More about the album here:
Just a week to go until one of my favourite festivals – tucked away on the North Wales coast in a magical village like no other. Famous as the location for the classic ’60s TV show ‘The Prisoner’, Portmeirion is a place plucked out of the imagination.
Half a century ago today a seismic cultural event took place at London’s Royal Albert Hall. The International Poetry Incarnation, with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg the guest of honour, drew over 7,000 people – bringing together formerly disparate groupings who could now, as a result of this vast gathering, see strength in numbers.
First up I have to say that fortune favours the brave, and Daisy Eris Campbell and her brilliant cast and production crew are destined, I’ve no doubt, to really make their mark via ‘Cosmic Trigger’, a bold adaptation of the Robert Anton Wilson book. Hugely ambitious in its scope, the 4 hour play now moves to London where there’ll be performances at LOST Theatre in SW8, kicking off tonight and running through until Saturday – needless to say that it’s highly recommended. The backstory to all this can be accessed via ‘The Gateway Drug’, which you can read here:
I’m all about connections. What really turns me on is when two previously separate areas of interest suddenly collide head on thanks to the discovery of a new piece of information. The connections are already there, it’s just that we’re blind to them much of the time, so when John Higgs, the author of ‘The KLF: Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds’, does the detective work and pieces of the jigsaw fall together in a way that reveals a different picture to what we may previously have envisaged, that’s a deeply nourishing feast for me.
I was recently part of a celebratory weekend, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the ‘Second Summer Of Love’, which, in fact, spanned 2 summers (1988 and 1989), focusing on the key role played by the famous London club night, Shoom.
David Mancuso’s London Loft party, ‘Journey Through The Light’, celebrates its 10th anniversary on June 23rd. Held Upstairs @ The Light in Shoreditch, it’s a party like no other, underpinned by a high-end audiophile sound system that has to be heard to be believed. Although its originator, now approaching his 70s, hasn’t been able to make it in person during recent times, the party continues in his absence, Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy his chosen stand in (he hopes to return for future dates though).